Spawning Event


Cloning Around
Staff member
RC Mod
Premium Member
Something has spawned in my 65 gallon tank. My wife came to me a few minutes ago and said my tank looks cloudy. I'm thinking it's just that algal film I didn't clean off the glass last weekend - WRONG. I can't see the back of the tank. What I can see are literally thousands of small, light green spheres, many in a stringy mucous (before hitting the spray-bar current), all suspended in a cloudy haze. It happened within 1/2 hour of my main lights going off (actinic dusk light still on - a 15 watt NO).

I'm trying to get pictures, but not having much luck. My only two candidates for spawning would be mt Rose BTAs (10 clones - but they should all be the same sex, right?), or my red serpent stars. I've had a large (18+") red serpent in the tank for several years, I just moved a small, 6" red serpent into the tank a week ago. I find it hard to believe that the thousands of eggs in my tank came from a serpent star, but I guess it's a possibility.

Anyone with any guesses?

I hope the tank doesn't suffer from the spawn occurring in such a confined space.

Another of the Eggs - sorry my camera doesn't do macro very well.
Perhaps somebody dropped a few packets of mixed fruit flavored Nerds.

What are you going to do? A huge water change?
Probably the BTA's and there are some lone ones I have heard of that spawn at a specific time each year. I believe what would happen is that one ready to spawn holds eggs till its ready to explode, then others explode their eggs at the same time so that there are so many eggs that predators can't eat them all. During that time I think other anemone's provide the fertilization, which takes 24 hours. Once they hit a substrate they form into new anemone's and are self sufficient.
I wouldn't do any water changes unless your tests go off the charts ;) Also, if you are this lucky to experience what I have just wrote, please do document everything!! Keep us posted on what happens!

I think you are probably right about it being the BTAs. After posting, one of the groups of eggs that I saw was a "columnar swirl," with the eggs packed fairly close together in a mucous film. Stayed that way for about 20 seconds until it hit the outflow from a spraybar. But when I thought about it, it reminded me of white, cottage-cheesey type columns I have seen within the column af BTAs. Didn't know what they were before, but I now believe they were the eggs.

Water column is clearing this morning - just slightly cloudy. Most of the eggs have disappeared. I see a few on the surface of a hitchhiker ball sponge. I hope some are in the rear refugium (this tank is a SeaClear System II, with a built-in wet/dry that I've turned into a refugium.

Does anyone know if egg-only spawning events would cause the milky water, or was theri sperm present too? If there was sperm present, does that mean BTAs are either hermaphroditic, or have the ability to change sex, since all 10 BTAs are clones?


Sounds like sperm AND eggs to me. You have multiple BTA's right? This could be cool! (heck, it already is).

Good luck,
Morning James,

Yes, it's cool!! Nothing I had anything to do with, but cool none-the-less. Any idea how I might end up with sperm and eggs from a group of clones? Nothing I've read indicates any hermaphroditic ability (simultaneous or sequential) in BTAs, but maybe it can happen. I just thoughit was awfully cloudy for eggs only.

Hi Kevin,

The anemones are the culprits.

As they are all clones, all you have are eggs.

The milkiness is a result of the aftermath of the spawning. Eggs are formed in a follicle, surrounded by cells that pump nutrients into them. When the eggs are released, these follicular cells get ruptured and die. The anemone will first release the eggs, and then will shed and release the follicular cell remants. This cellular debris gives the milky appearance. This has happened to me several times with my haddoni female. Sperm release would have filled your tank with bright white smoke - you would probably not have been able to see anything.

What this has do is add a lot of decomposible organics to your system. You may wish to do a water change.

If you are a member of Breeder's Registry, you might wish to read my article on spawning in female haddoni which describes this process in some detail, and what you might do to get babies - i. e. hunt for a "boy."
Thank you Dr. Ron. I am a member of BR, I'll look up your article. Now, anyone know how to "sex" an anemone (so I can find a boy)?

Anyone else ever have BTAs spawn? Let's hear your experiences!

Well, it looks like I'll need to do a water change, as the tank is still cloudy. Prolly the one time I actually wished I had a decent skimmer (as versus the underskimming piece of (deleted) that I use now). Usually I like being underskimmed, but a good skimmer would sure come in handy.

Okay, I guess no one has ever had this happen before:eek2: , so I'll keep posting to this thread to update the experience for anyone who has the experience in the future.

I changed 10 gallons of water (all I had on hand, getting more today - I use cured NSW) last night (65 gallon tank). Boy, was the tank water funky. The rear refugium area had lots of organic "gunk" floating on the surface, pretty much stuck to the macro algae. Lots of "flattened" eggs as well (not round spheres like when they were floating around the tank, now they're "deflated" into flat circles.

The water is still pretty cloudy this morning. A few "chunks" of some sort of tan, spongy material are still floating around the tank - the largest pieces are attached/caught on a couple of the anemones. These pieces look like they were probably something expelled from the anemone with the eggs.

I've finally managed to locate all the fish and livestock (3" purple tang, 2" Pseudochromis Friedmani, pair of GSM clowns (3 1/2" female, 1 1/2" male), 3" yellow watchman goby and partner pistol shrimp, 20" red serpent star, and 6" red serpent star. I was worried about the male clown, as I hadn't been able to find him, and all the anemones were curled into balls - I was afraid he had taken refuge in an anemone and become a meal.

The anemones aren't curled into balls any longer - their tentacles are still deflated, but they are open.

An interesting side effect - the clowns were tending a clutch of eggs near their favorite clone. They have completely abandoned the clutch of eggs - haven't tended/defended them since the anemone spawning began 36 hours ago. Also, neither clown is particularly "playing" in the clone closest to the eggs (formally their favorite location). The anemone spawning seems to have freaked the clowns out, and I'll be interested to see if the pair immediately begin spawning again when the current eggs are gone (their pattern before the anemone spawning), or if there is a delay.

Well I guess the same happened to my tank about an hour ago. I was at home in front of my clear 500G that has 4 anemones and lots of corals. I went out for about an hour and when I came back (right after the MH's turned off) I saw the same cloudy effect that has been described by Kevin. I initially suspected my sea urchin, which I have seen deposit his sperms (or eggs?) before. However the tank was too cloudy for one single urchin to accomplish.

I have found this thread in RC, and after reading the thread I saw the spheric eggs, and the same odd behaviour from the Clarkiis. I do not know which anemone spawned, but judging from the huge expansion of my BTA (it has reached a diameter of about 15 inches) that has never been seen before, I would say that it has spawned. I also have a H. Magnifica and two carpet anemones, and I do not know if they spawn in the fashion described in this thread.

The clarkiis regualrly spawn near the BTA and now both of them tend not to go near there. As a side note, mr ORp which was around 480 a couple of hours ago has dropped to 280 now. I will see tomorrow if I still have the cloudy water. If so, maybe I also should do some water change.

Kevin, were you able to get more detailed info on sexing a BTA? And if you have the link to the article that has been mentioned by Ron Shimek, could you please share it with us?

Yup, about 9 months ago. I guess it was about time for the eggs of Kevin to hatch to yield new anemones. After all 9 months is the magic number. :)